Davao City working on nutrition strategy for mothers, children

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Nov) – The city council committee on health is fine-tuning an ordinance targeting to implement a maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition (MNCHN) strategy for Davao City.

In an email interview Wednesday, council committee chair on health Mary Joselle Villafuerte said the committee was set to invite interested stakeholders to make the ordinance more comprehensive.

According to Villafuerte, maternal mortality in the city as of 2010 has been at 62 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the figures above the Millennium Development Goal of 52 per 100,000 live births.

This means that 15.5 infants died in every 1,000 live births.

The proposed ordinance could help lower infant mortality, Villafuerte said.

She said the main reason for the high figures was the absence of a health-seeking behavior, which made pregnant women unaware of the importance of accessing pre-natal services.

The councilor also attributed this to a shortage in supplies, equipment, facilities and trained service providers that led to the continuing services of hilots or “traditional birth attendants.”

The MNCHN program provides for the access of services for the poor, ensures the adequate source of safe blood supply, conducts the health promotion activities for MNCHN services, and plans for appropriate service delivery, governance, regulation, health human resource, financing, and health information systems.

The ordinance also aims to link up with public and private comprehensive and basic emergency obstetric and newborn care facilities, as well as partnerships with skilled birth attendants and hospital birthing facilities.

The MNCHN ordinance also provides for alternative distribution points and other sources of MNCHN commodities, as well as other support for transportation and communication channels by different sectors such as representatives from government and non-government organizations.